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Survey Says...

The AP continues to bang the drum for failure in Afghanistan with this bit today about Army morale:

WASHINGTON (AP) - The army says morale has fallen among its forces in Afghanistan, where troops are seeing record violence in the 8-year-old war.

A new battlefield survey taken several months ago found instances of depression, anxiety and other psychological problems about the same as in 2007--but there was a significant drop in unit morale. The Army also says there is a shortage of mental health workers[.]

Efforts already under way to get more mental health workers to the war are hampered somewhat by last week's shooting at Fort Hood. The army psychiatrist charged in the shootings was slated to go to Afghanistan. Some of the dead and wounded also were to deploy there to bolster psychological services for soldiers.

Lots going on here, so let's unpack this some.

Has the "Army" actually said that morale has fallen? If so, shouldn't the AP have included a quote from someone speaking on behalf of the Army? That they didn't can only mean that the Army didn't say it and that it's an inference the AP is making based on the survey.

Which somehow is both "new" and "several months" old.

And about this falling morale--what's causing it? Is it the "record violence"? Nobody in the Army is saying that and the survey results don't indicate cause. Could there possibly be other reasons for this "significant drop in unit morale"? The AP sure doesn't want us to think so. It ruins their narrative. But isn't it reasonable to suggest that it may perhaps be due at least in some part to Obama's hanging them out to dry for the past 2 months by refusing Gen. McChrystal's request for adequate reinforcements? Or, since the poll was taken "several months ago" (didn't the AP know the exact date?) could it be that the dip in morale is due to Obama himself? Does he instill confidence in you as Commander in Chief? What must his dithering look like to soldiers in the field?

And what about this "drop"? How "significant" is it? Don't we have to know what they're comparing the results to? They do say that incidents of "depression, anxiety and other psychological problems" are unchanged since 2007. Does this morale "drop" also relate to events since 2007? Might morale have been really high, I don't know, maybe in late 2007 as evidence of the success of their brothers in Iraq gained traction? Compared to now, when Obama seems to be forfeiting the war on terror?

Finally...let's for argument's sake admit that we need more psychiatrists in Afghanistan. It's absolutely laughable for the AP to say that efforts to do this were "hampered" by Army psychiatrist Maj. Hasan's decision to murder 13 people instead of heading into the field himself.

Would they rather he went?

That's a rhetorical question, but it's worth a second to wonder whether the AP thinks it is.


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Comments (19)

if morale HASN'T fallen I w... (Below threshold)

if morale HASN'T fallen I would be stunned!

- dithering President (though I don't really think he is "dithering"...just stalling)
- ROE that are flat out crippling!
- Political Correctness run amok!
- Commanding General has to fly 3,000 miles and sit on a tarmac in Copenhagen to get 25 MINUTES with the President...who is ONLY there to try and influence the Olympic Committee
- warning signs abounding that this Administration doesn't give a DAMN about our troops!

yup...my morale would be pretty low too!

Justrand sums it up. Perha... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

Justrand sums it up. Perhaps the AP might think to ask "What effect Obama has had on troop morale?"

Or could it be they already know the answer?

Considering how the Obama a... (Below threshold)
Hank:

Considering how the Obama administration tries to affect reporting, I have to wonder if this is the start of the big setup toward pulling the troops out.

This is desperately poor st... (Below threshold)
Alfonso Paulista:

This is desperately poor stuff, Albert. Of course it's perfectly reasonable to suggest that Obama's refusal, to date, to meet Gen. McChrystal's request for troops could be affecting morale, but don't you think it's also reasonable to suggest that the fact that troops are facing record levels of violence after an 8 year presence in the country might be in some way responsible (we'll ignore the fact that the article doesn't actually make this suggestion). Or, hey, just maybe it's a combination of factors and can't easily be boiled down to some piece of reactionary idiocy on a blog?

What are you actually complaining about here? It's a brief report on a survey, that's all. It's light on detail (to say the least) and draws no conclusions, so what are you actually arguing with?

"It's absolutely laughable for the AP to say that efforts to do this were "hampered" by Army psychiatrist Maj. Hasan's decision to murder 13 people instead of heading into the field himself."

You are, of course, aware that Maj. Hasan is to stand trial for 13 - maybe 14 - counts of premeditated murder. I'll wait to see what the results of the trial are before jumping to conclusions about his motives and what actually happened. (Are you really suggesting that he decided to murder lots of people to get out of a posting to Afghanistan? Really?)

Why is it that Republicans/... (Below threshold)
Jake:

Why is it that Republicans/Conservatives are so hell-bent on believing that despite the overwhelming history about Afghanistan, dealing with the reality of that history is advocating "failure"?

Are we "winning" in Afghanistan? If so, please explain how.

And if we're not "winning", WTF are we doing if not losing/failing?

"Perhaps the AP might think... (Below threshold)
Alfonso Paulista:

"Perhaps the AP might think to ask "What effect Obama has had on troop morale?""

Perhaps they might, if they were actually carrying out battlefield surveys, rather than just reporting on them.

"Considering how the Obama ... (Below threshold)
Alfonso Paulista:

"Considering how the Obama administration tries to affect reporting, I have to wonder if this is the start of the big setup toward pulling the troops out."

I suppose it's possible. It's altogether more possible that this is just a report on a battlefield survey of unspecified origin The inference I would take from the wording of the story is that the survey was carried out by the Army themselves.

If this is the best the Obama administration can do to affect reporting, I don't think you have too much too worry about.

Quit trying to regulate nea... (Below threshold)
914:

Quit trying to regulate neanderthals and their sickened condition.

Trolls aside. It sure would be nice to have Barak make a decision once in a while? I mean, it's only our Son's and beautiful Daughter's fighting over there. You are not running for office anymore. Make up Your mind.

Re "reasonable to suggest t... (Below threshold)
Wayne:

Re "reasonable to suggest that the fact that troops are facing record levels of violence after an 8 year presence in the country might be in some way responsible (we'll ignore the fact that the article doesn't actually make this suggestion)."

The following statement sure sounds like it to me and don't tell me that they are simply stating two fact in one sentence without trying to associate the two.

"The army says morale has fallen among its forces in Afghanistan, where troops are seeing record violence in the 8-year-old war."

How about if we rephrase it a little?

"The army says morale has fallen among its forces in Afghanistan, where troops are waiting on Obama's decision to send in reinforcements\where troops are frustrated with ROE\ where troops are waiting for the Obama to give their General some respect\etc.

His Nobel Prize must be wei... (Below threshold)
bobdog:

His Nobel Prize must be weighing heavily on him, since he did nothing to earn it. He has a debt to History, doncha know.

If only he could end a war...without political repercussions...and still get reelected...and get his favorables back up...and have Europeans respect him again...and get everybody back to dealing with really crucial issues like healthcare and globule warming...

Surely there must be a way...somehow...

Point is, Obama has a deep psychological need to be worshipped, and he's at a loss without it. Don't bother him with tough choices that his domestic political ferrets can't handle.

Other than that, he's a fine president.

Alfonso---My point... (Below threshold)
Al:

Alfonso---

My point here was to suggest that this AP "news report" was nothing more than an editorial against the war in Afghanistan.

Are they only "reporting" on the survey? Hardly. They're drawing conclusions. They're saying that the drop in morale is "significant" (even though they include no point of reference) and are insinuating that the drop is in some way related to the "record violence" in an "8 year war" despite the fact that the survey results presented no causality between the morale drop and the record violence.

Lots "could" have caused the army in Afghanistan to post a lower morale now than they did in 2007. A fair news article would have attempted to identify those reasons based on likely causes. Yes, violence is always a bummer, but so is bad leadership and feeling of abandonment---both of which are going on right now in real time. Isn't it as likely that the army morale has dipped for those reasons as for anything to do with "violence" which is always present inside a war zone?

The AP piece was an anti-war editorial masquerading as a news piece.

"sure would be nice to hav... (Below threshold)
914:

"sure would be nice to have Barak make a decision once in a while? I mean, it's only our Son's and beautiful Daughter's fighting over there. You are not running for office anymore. Make up Your mind"

And this gets a neg vote because-

A.) You hate Me? Or, and..

B.) You side with the enemy.

Albert Araneo,I sh... (Below threshold)
Tina S:

Albert Araneo,

I showed this article and your recent one about PTSD to a co-worker who has a son in in the milary. She called you names that I can not print here. She told me to tell you that most people in the military (or with families in the military) believe the media is not reporting enough about the psyhological problems many soldiers are facing.

Tina I hope you real... (Below threshold)
Wayne:

Tina
I hope you realize that there is a difference between not reporting on psychological problems our troops are facing and the MSM using a few hand pick ones to push a liberal agenda.

Also you should be wary of mother's reactions to factors their children face. They tend to overact. My mother wanted me to run off to Canada when I was activated which there was no chance of hell of me doing. Also trying to explain to her even some of the minor situations I faced in the service was pointless. She would go into her mother mode and it was impossible to get her to understand the need and sometime the pride in facing those situations.

AlbertThanks for t... (Below threshold)
Alfonso Paulista:

Albert

Thanks for the response. I'm not going to argue that it's a good piece of reporting - it's pathetically light on detail and you could argue that there is a deliberate attempt to link low troop morale to record levels of violence.

However, it doesn't explicitly make that link (and for all we know, the link is actually made in the survey's own conclusions). Given that they don't identify who even carried out the survey, much less when, I think you're jumping to conclusions.

I have a fair question whic... (Below threshold)
Tina S:

I have a fair question which I hope gets answered. FOX News ran the same story. My question is; Does that mean FOX News is banging the drum for failure in Afghanistan ?

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/11/13/morale-troops-afghanistan-army-says/?test=latestnews


Found the actual surveys </... (Below threshold)
Tina S:
I thought Barry would be a ... (Below threshold)
Greta:

I thought Barry would be a bad president, but never dreamed how bad or how far left. This guy is becoming a walking joke with each new decision or non decision. He desperately wants to vote present on every issue and try to remain liked rather than respected. Not sure we can take four years of his failures and the only way to stop him is to get the democrats out of power in house and senate asap. Democrats who march lock step with him have to be defeated at all costs. My spouse and I are both taking early retirement to work to raise funds and to do whatever we can do over the next few years to stop Barry and his left wing party from the outright destruction of our country. We owe it to our children and grandchildren.

And what, Greta, does any o... (Below threshold)
Alfonso Paulista:

And what, Greta, does any of that have to do with the story at hand?

Tina S - good job finding the actual survey. I've only skimmed some of the conclusions, but it doesn't make for cheerful reading first thing on a Saturday.




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